Cranberry juice, a tart deep red drink, is commonly found in most grocery stores. This beverage, especially in its purest form, is actually an amazing addition to your diet. Learn more about cranberry juice benefits today.

Cranberries are a part of the Heather family of plants and are associated with bilberries, lingonberries, and blueberries. They are hard, small, red, round fruits.

Cranberries grow on vines in southern Canada, Chile, and the northern United States in freshwater swamps. The most prevalent variety of cranberry in America is Vaccinium macrocarpon, which is native to North America.

However, you can also get other varieties in nature. Cranberries were used for medicine, food, and fabric dye in native American culture. Cranberries are now grown on almost 58,000 acres of farmland across different areas.

Cranberry Juice Benefits

Cranberries are regarded as a superfood due to their excellent antioxidant and nutrient content. Usually, they aren’t eaten raw because of their sharp sour, and bitter taste. Instead, they are most commonly consumed as sweetened juice or blended with other fruit juices.

Cranberry can also be used in different product forms, including powders, sauces, extracts, dried cranberries, and supplements.

We will look into the nutritional facts and health benefits of cranberries.

So, let’s dive into it!

cranberry fruits on a bush

Cranberry Nutrition

The nutrition of cranberries can change depending upon their forms, such as raw or dried because dried berries contain more sugar. The juices are also not all the same, with many containing lots of added sugar.

Nutrients in one cup of raw cranberries include:

  • Calories: 46
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fats: 0 gram
  • Sugar: 4 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 2 milligrams

Nutrients in one-quarter cup of dried fruits:

  • Calories: 92
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Fats: 0 gram
  • Sugar: 22 grams
  • Protein: 0 gram
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 2 milligrams

Cranberries: Carbohydrates and Fiber

Carbohydrates and fiber are the chief constituents of cranberries, mainly simple sugars like fructose, sucrose, and glucose. Insoluble fiber makes the remaining part, including cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin.

Insoluble fiber is not digested in the GI tract. That’s part of why extreme ingesting of cranberries can lead to digestive problems like diarrhea. However, soluble fiber is also a part of cranberries.

It’s important to note that there is no fiber in the cranberry juice because it’s generally diluted with other fruit juices and is well filtered/strained.

Cranberries: Vitamins and Minerals

Cranberries contain numerous vitamins and minerals. Cranberries contain the following types of minerals and vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B complex includes:
    • Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
    • Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
    • Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
    • Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K1
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Copper

Cranberry Antioxidants

Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and other bioactive plant compounds, especially flavonol polyphenols. Most of these compounds are clustered in the skin and are highly lessened in the cranberry juice.

Quercetin: It’s the major antioxidant in cranberries. Cranberries are considered the primary fruit source of quercetin.

Peonidin: Peonidin provides a strong red color and some health benefits to cranberries along with cyanidin. Cranberries come under the fullest dietary source of peonidin.

A-type Proanthocyanidin: It’s also known as condensed tannins and is thought to be efficient against urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Myricetin: It is the crucial polyphenol in cranberries that has several valuable impacts on health.

cranberries in a wooden bowl

Health Benefits of Cranberries

Lots of fruits and vegetables are involved in the recommended diets by nutrition and health experts. However, cranberries provide various health benefits and are a great source of numerous antioxidants and vitamins. According to a study, phenols, which are a type of antioxidant, are present in high amounts in cranberries out of 20 common fruits.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs) Prevention

UTIs are the most prevalent bacterial diseases, particularly in females.

The primary cause behind these diseases is the intestinal bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) that adheres to the inside of your urinary tract and bladder.

A-type proanthocyanidin is present in cranberries that reduce E. coli adherence to the urinary tract and bladder lining. Therefore, cranberries can be a possible precaution against UTIs because they come among the most significant source of A-type proanthocyanidin.

Several investigations on humans have shown that consuming cranberry juice or supplements can lessen the menace of UTIs in both adults and children.

However, all cranberry products may not be efficient against UTIs because proanthocyanidin can be lost during the processing causing no detection in most products.

But supplements can be an excellent precautionary measure because they contain an adequate quantity of proanthocyanidin.

If you have UTI, you must first discuss it with your health professional. Its primary treatment is antibiotics. However, you need to be mindful that cranberries only reduce the risk but cannot be used as a treatment.

Learn more about the use of cranberry juice in preventing UTIs here.

Stomach Cancer and Ulcer Prevention

The prevalent cause of death globally is stomach cancer, and the primary cause behind stomach ulcers, cancer, and inflammation is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium.

Again A-type proanthocyanidin can lessen the risk of H. pylori to your stomach lining and are present in cranberries in significant quantities.

According to a study that involved 189 adults, consuming 500ml of cranberry juice every day can significantly decrease H. pylori infection. Another investigation that involved 295 children showed that cranberry juice intake for three weeks regularly suppressed H. pylori growth by around 17% in infected candidates. 

Read more about this study here.

Heart Health

Heart disease is another prominent cause of death globally.

Cranberries are full of numerous antioxidants that can be beneficial for heart health. These involve proanthocyanidins, quercetin, and anthocyanins. Cranberries are beneficial for numerous heart disease risks in human studies.

Cranberry products can be helpful in many ways like by:

  • Decreasing LDL cholesterol levels in diabetes patients
  • Enhancing HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • Decreasing blood pressure
  • Reducing the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Reducing the hardness of blood vessels in heart patients
  • Reducing homocysteine levels in the blood thus lowering the inflammation risk in blood vessels

However, different studies have shown different results.

Others

Cranberries have also shown protection against liver diseases, improve cardiovascular health and eyesight.

Cranberries can also improve your gut health. For example, studies have suggested that cranberries can enhance gut bacteria in people with an animal-based diet, i.e., eat more dairy and meat products.

They can also be healthful for your mouth, as they control toxic acids in your mouth by reducing the amount of acid and its adherence to your teeth. Thus, help in decreasing tooth decay, gum diseases, cavities, and even oral cancer.

cranberries juice drink in glasses with ice surrounded by fresh cranberries

Is Cranberry Juice Good For You?

Cranberries are a tart berry that is nearly inedible when raw or in 100% juice form. The most common and easiest ways to eat cranberries are when they are dried, or as juice. Even so, this juice will be heavily diluted.

This cranberry juice can be such a good way to get daily vitamin C, antioxidants, and more. Look for cranberry juice that is diluted with other whole fruit juices, and are low in added sugar, especially processed sugars such as corn syrup.

Many cranberry juices are labeled as “juice cocktails”, because they are more sugar and water than fruit products. Unfortunately, these are the most common and economical options.

The best solution I have is to buy pure undiluted cranberry juice, and mix it with other sweeter juices, such as apple and white grape, or even water, and if necessary adding your own sweetener. This way you can add sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit. 

Mix the cranberry juice to a 25% or less concentration so it is not too harsh for you. For example, for a cup of cranberry juice, add three cups of your secondary juice or water.

More Health Benefits Articles:

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  3. 9 Proven Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
  4. 11 Impressive Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice
  5. 10 Health Benefits Of Mangoes
  6. Health Benefits of Broccoli
  7. Top 10 Health Benefits of Eggplants

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